Where are the best place for great spring shopping in Europe?
I don’t know about you, but in spring, as soon as the days smell of daisies and poppies, and when the sun is at its warmest and the days last longer… I’d better leave with no money on me.
It’s that moment of the year when strange clothing matches come to my mind as well as new ideas for the house and the accessories, not to mention the must-have shoes I can’t help buying when I find them along my way.
Well, try to imagine what travelling in spring means for a person like me! Yet, I also believe it’s the best time to travel, along with the summer, fall and winter.
Besides, my passion for new things in spring is not limited to clothing! For instance, I’m passionate about personal beauty and home accessories, and I particularly love skin care and hair care products (needless to say!)
I also like “exotic” products but, above all, zero-mile products.
If you love going shopping for clothes, various objects and items, in particular zero-mile products in the local street markets, taking advantage of the great bargains in the shops of many European cities, you are in the right place because I’ll now tell you where to go if you want to buy nice and creative things in Europe without ending up broke.
Street markets in Sofia
Small craft and “jingling items” shop in Sofia
Cheap and inspiring, this city is made up of contaminations and you’ll find creative crafts as well as major European fashion brands… but at local costs that, I assure you, are absolutely competitive.
Among the central mall, the women market where you can fill up on coloured spices, and the shops on the side streets of Vitosha Boulevard, people passionate about things that are nowhere to be found but here and who love coloured items will have the opportunity to load their bags with stuff.
About this, I’ll be straight: if you leave with the strong idea of compulsive shopping in a city with very low cost connections to Italy like Sofia or the other cities below, I suppose you’ll leave with just one bag. Therefore, you should take into serious consideration the idea of having the spoils of your war against the sense of proportion delivered to your place by courier.
Street markets in Tirana
The independent shops in the Blloku neighbourhood are my favourite places, among pubs with shabby chic or industrial style interiors, because of the possibility to choose unique things in their own way, ranging from earrings made with old relics of the ancient regime to decorative tiles to put up at home and comics decals we have never seen before.
Tirana is ever more European as a city, and you can find mainstream fashion products in modern malls (also interesting for architecture enthusiasts) like the Topani Shopping Center. Even here, shopping in the capital is cheaper than going shopping in the outskirts of western countries.
I think Albania is the cheapest country I’ve ever visited (and, believe me, I’ve been to several cheap countries).
My beloved Côte d’Azur is the best place to buy very chic cosmetic and body care products. Starting from Fragonard, whose products are really hard to find in the rest of Europe, which has its headquarters in Nice where you can buy products at lower costs and get sell-out items.
Moreover, the more popular brands face some good local competition, even by small craftsmen who work in the street markets selling their natural lavender and olive oil soaps, perfumes and hard soaps, home fragrances, Provence table-cloths and curtains and much more.
This region encourages shopping thanks to its colours and perfumes, and there are too many things you won’t be able to say no to.
shopping in Europe
Here’s another destination you can reach without spending too much and in a short time, which combines the passion for the exotic with the most mainstream taste.
Malta retains its “island” spirit (to tell the truth, it’s a small archipelago) based on old traditions but it’s also a place that goes through an ongoing modernization. This double-sided spirit as well as doubled speed is reflected in its products.
My dear vain friends like me, here in Malta, besides visiting the (Sunday) market at the entrance of Valletta, the flea market in Gozo and the one at the entrance of Birgu, I suggest you look for filigree jewelry, that is simple, light, typical and extremely classy. I preferred silver and white gold jewels but also the yellow gold ones are extremely refined.
I recommend Dublin especially for its flea markets, like the Brocante Vintage, where you can buy used stuff but also “art”. Ranging from beautiful and original pictures (I’ve got five at my place) to paintings, figurative art is sold down the street at different prices.
shopping in Europe
It’s pretty normal for an employee in Dublin to play on Grafton street after work and sell cds or just a few moments of good music; the same applies to art enthusiasts who sell their works down the street or in the local street markets.
What’s the closest place for us if we want to walk around a wonderful bazaar, full of items with the most beautiful design inspired by the Islamic tradition? Sarajevo, no doubt about it!
Look for the Baščaršija area, which is by the way one of the nicest in the Bosnian capital, and get lost among its traditional lamps and carpets.
If you want to spend a day in a bazaar-city, full of typical stuff, have a walk in Mostar, a jewel (UNESCO world heritage) made of stairs, alleys, river views and lots of green areas.
Save money on the flight, if you like, because once in London you won’t be able to refrain from buying things in Portobello or Camden Town. Fashion lovers should know that many young designers, who already work or practice for important brands of the fashion industry, come to these street markets to sell their micro-collections while waiting to make a name for themselves.
Therefore, you should be aware that the special skirt you really can’t take your eyes off of, which costs 20 pounds and is made of a fabric you’ve never seen before, could be the creation of a future Bella Freud or John Galliano.
What will you do then, will you choose only one of these cities (which one?) or are you planning to visit them all?